Dear public (not the segment who is quietly appreciative and occasionally brings us cookies),
(When I first started to write this, it didn’t occur to me that the anniversary of 9/11 was approaching, but this is perhaps turning out to be a good time for this post. Nine years ago, you saw with your own eyes how we, as emergency service providers, drop what we’re doing no matter what and respond to calls for service without so much as a second thought. You showed your appreciation for us and we were quietly grateful for your appreciation.
I suppose that was a long time ago. Time doesn’t stop. Memories fade. Wounds heal. Life goes on. We keep going to calls.)
Lately, it has been especially apparent to me that some of you still have no idea what we, emergency services, do. Perhaps you’ve simply forgotten as you carry on with your lives, and that’s understandable as most of you, fortunately, don’t require our services. It’s fine if you don’t know what we do, for it’s our job to know what we do, yet some of you have no problem voicing your imbecilic opinions about us and what we do. Loudly. And frequently in the media, who like a bad habit gets everything about us wrong, sometimes deliberately. That is not cool.
Unless you’re going to do our work and do it better, it would be nice if you kept your mouth shut unless you’re thanking us. Or don’t thank us. We don’t care. We know our work is thankless. I don’t heckle you where you work, if you work at all.
- Please do not snidely say anything along the lines of, “So I guess you don’t have a life to save.” or “I see you’re getting paid to do nothing.” when I’m getting a cup of coffee. There is not an emergency every single minute of the day for every single crew. Besides, a call for us is (usually) a bad day for somebody. Are you wishing ill on total strangers? How classy.
- Speaking of buying coffee, we do not eat or drink on your dime. So don’t ever approach my grocery cart again looking for me to thank you for my dinner or complain that we’re eating steaks that you’re paying for with your “tax dollars” in “this bad economy.” I will run over your toes with my cart and beat you with my cucumber. (See Rescuing Providence for a wonderfully written post on firehouse meals.)
- You would not believe how tiny a portion of your tax dollars go to our budgets, so please don’t tell me I work for you because you pay my salary. Because, individually speaking, you pretty much don’t. That’s like saying I can lord over Google employees because I own 50 shares of Google stock. And definitely don’t tell me you pay my salary if you don’t even pay taxes or simply pay less taxes than I do, because then that means I pay more of my salary than you do. In that case, Taxpayer Me is going to tell Taxpayer You to fuck off. And tax dollars definitely don’t fund private agencies, so be sure to bite your tongue around those folks. Same with the volunteers.
- Please don’t tell us we’re being too rough when we’re not at our most graceful carrying the 300-pound patient. If you’re not going to help fight gravity and obesity, go away.
- Please try not to listen to the politicians; most of them are constantly trying to cut our budgets so they can buy new office furniture and pay off their “consultant” and “developer” “friends.” If they could get rid of all the firefighters and let the city burn down so their “friends” can rebuild, they would. If they could get rid of all the medics and let all of you die, and if they could get rid of all the cops and let property values drop because of the subsequent crime spree so their “friends” can buy up all the property on the cheap, raze, rebuild and profit, they would.
- Along the same lines, please refrain from having an opinion about our labor negotiations, or anyone’s for that matter. For every labor-management issue the media reports, on which you base your opinion, there are 10 other issues for which they – and you – simply don’t have the attention span. How you feel that you’re entitled to an opinion when you know absolutely nothing is beyond me. But then again, how does one tell the stupid and unreasonable that they’re stupid and unreasonable?
Let’s not even get started with all the shit some of you specifically give the poor cops.